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How to Re-Discover Your Inspiration

How to Re-Discover Your Inspiration main image

By Katarina Matiasovska

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. — Agatha Christie

As Agatha Christie once suggested, the aha! moment can happen in the most unusual places. Indeed, inspiration is a strange and unpredictable beast. It seems like the more we try to chase it, the more elusive it becomes.

Professionals from all walks of life, whether they are entrepreneurs in quest of fresh ideas, marketers looking for the catchiest phrases or chefs bringing to life new culinary creations, all need to keep themselves inspired, but it’s not always as easy as we’d like. When university deadlines are bearing down on you, it can be easy to forget how to enjoy your work and apply a creative spark to your projects. Next time inspiration deserts you, here’s what to do.

Read, read, read

When in doubt, read. Anything. Because inspiration can lie everywhere. As long as it has words, it’s a gateway to other worlds, new associations and your own unique interpretations of it all.

A famous avid reader? Warren Buffett, who gives his reading habits credit for his mega success. He once advised people: “Read 500 pages like this every day…That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

Warren Buffett has a point. Not many people read 500 pages a day, and even fewer will take it to the extreme and read 600 to 1000 pages per day, like he used to do at the beginning of his investing career. (You have to wonder if he ever went outside to get some fresh air?)

Make a move

It’s been proven that moving your physical body changes your mental landscape. So instead of sitting on a chair when tackling an inspiration drought, take a break and walk, run, jump or dance it out instead.

Justin Rhodes, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, sheds some light on why the brain-exercise connection is so touted, saying that exercise causes “blood pressure and blood flow [to] increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.”

Bearing this in mind, sitting in the same chair all day in the library can clearly act like a bottleneck for inspiration, so if you want your creative juices to flow freely, get outside and get moving.

Change your surroundings

Even if it means going to a corner shop, changing your location can serve as a catalyst for brainstorming.

Sometimes you don’t even have to go as far as the corner shop. According to Nick Stockton from Wired magazine, taking a shower puts you into a mental state called the default mode network. This means you’re doing a certain routine activity, yet at the same time allowing your mind to lull and wander and maybe go on a brainstorming spree.

Engage in manual work

When you’re feeling burnt out and lacking ideas, a good idea is to “zone out” by working with your hands. Cooking, household chores (Agatha Christie was doing the dishes), knitting… whatever floats your boat.

By detaching ourselves from the problem, we’re actually inviting possible solutions to emerge and present themselves. You can up the ante by listening to your favorite podcasts or great music while working.

Experience something new

By far the best method to get inspired is to open yourself up to an experience you’ve never explored before. Seek out a society, sports team or other activity you’ve never tried before and you’ll find that, by putting yourself out there and experiencing new things, you’ll also get inspired. After all, they say art imitates life. And if life itself doesn’t inspire you, what will?

Don’t panic when inspiration doesn’t come

Panic and anxiety can paralyze your mind and block any inspiring insights that may otherwise be accessible in a calm and balanced frame of mind. But if you relax, and trust that ideas will eventually come back to you, then they will.

Katarina Matiasovska writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse their graduate jobs London listings, visit their website. For senior roles, see the Inspiring Search page.

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